Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Paul's Tears

When Paul is headed off to Jerusalem for Pentecost, knowing that something really bad is awaiting him, he skips Ephesus but takes time to visit with the Ephesian pastors in Miletus. He reminds the pastors that they know he has served the Lord "with many tears and trials." During Bible class this week, Pastor pointed out how we are prone to think of Paul's tears as the results of getting beaten or stoned or chased out of town. We think he's sad because people are perturbed with him and wanting to do him harm. (And there may be some truth to that. Nobody likes to be hated.) But when we read Romans 9-10, we realize that Paul yearned for the Jews to be saved. His tears were more for them, because of their rejection of the Savior, than tears for himself and his own comfort (or lack thereof).

As he has done all through the book of Acts, Pastor was pointing out how the apostles looked like Jesus. They preached like Jesus. They even did miracles like Jesus. They faced the same Sanhedrin and Roman officials as did Jesus. And here in this passage (20:19) we have Paul grieving over his people's rejection of God's mercy. Sound like Jesus? Remember that story (likewise told by Luke) just before Jesus' death when He wept over Jerusalem? "If only you had known the things that are for your peace!" (19:41).

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